Ventura: Italy must focus on youth
Don’t expect Italy coach Giampiero Ventura to base his selections on experience, as the tactician made it clear that youth continues to be a focus for the Azzurri boss.
The national team will continue their bid for Wold Cup qualification against Albania on March 24 before doing battle with Netherlands four days later in friendly action, with the side featuring several new faces.
Alex Meret, Leonardo Spinazzola, Roberto Gagliardini, Simone Verdi, Matteo Politano and Andrea Petagna are all potentially in line for their first Italy caps, and Ventura made it clear he will continue giving call-ups to young players that perform.
“We are convinced that the youth is our future and we are giving them time to grow,” he told the assembled press.
“We will call up players that featured at the last training camp. For example, [Andrea] Petagna and [Leonardo] Spinazzola worked their way up from the training camp to the national team.
“However being young isn’t enough as you have to show your potential. Some players have lived up to the hype, others have struggled, but our main goal is to qualify [for the World Cup] given that it is the first time that only the top team qualifies and we aren’t a top seed.”
Danilo D’Ambrosio could also make his Azzurri debut at the age of 28, but Tavecchio pointed out anyone who performs well for their club is welcome in the side.
“Inter now have four national team players,” Tavecchio pointed out after also calling up Eder, Antonio Candreva and Gagliardini.
“D’Ambrosio is doing well and I called him up to show that the national team is open to everyone that performs well for their club.”
Italy currently sit atop Group G with Spain thanks to 10 points from four matches.